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Jottings on liver cancer, Nexavar and intervention radiotherapy

I am going to jot this down so that there is a note somewhere to refer to.

We just had lunch at 1-Stop and was getting 1 for 3, 3 for 8 (wink,wink going cheap) when the phone rang. Hubby’s relative is asking him if he is free to meet the oncologist. So, we crossed over to Adventist.

It is kind of down memory lane because all my kids were with me and I told them, “HA! 18 years ago, we were here. Nay, the old man selling bubur kacang is still around. Your father ate a bowl every time I gave birth. Later must buy one packet.”

When we walked into the Adventist lobby, my little boy shouted, “Mommy! Look! Jesus!” Sigh…how amazing that a little boy notices this and yet I hardly notice that when I used to go in and out of the lobby for two months after Vincent’s birth (in 2001).

The relative told us her hubby was peeing blood. He is now on Nevaxar which is to treat his advance liver cancer. The medicine costs RM5K per week. There are no other alternatives because the cancer has spread all over the liver.

The cancer drug Nevaxar® has become the first product to receive marketing authorization in the United States for the treatment of liver cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a supplemental New Drug Application for infoNexavar® (sorafenib) tablets for the treatment of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common form of liver cancer. In Europe, Nexavar® was approved for the treatment of HCC in October 2007. It is the only drug therapy shown to significantly improve overall survival in patients with the disease.

(source Bayer AG)

She said the doctor speaks very ‘slang’ English and they have difficulties understanding him. So, both hubby and I went to see Dr. Ng. Such a nice Christian doctor because he was calling all over, the General Hospital, Island Hospital and his own hospital to find out the costs etc.

He explained to us that one of the kidney too has cancer cells and that is the cause of the bleeding. The treatment is to embolish (not sure the term) the part of the kidney by cauterization. It is like putting cement to cut off the blood vessel there and let that part of the kidney to stop functioning/bleeding.

This relative is very reluctant to be treated by Western doctors because he dislike the idea of spending so much money, the pain associated with the treatment and generally, some people just do not like hospitals. Thank God, we were there and we get to explain to him that this is the only option. He cannot continuing pee blood and there is no medicine to stop it. I am very good in explaining things like these because of my long exposure to the hospital ICU and had seen doctors in Lam Wah Ee talking in Hokkien.

In fact, it has taken him weeks before he finally relented to see a doctor after his discharge the other day. People like me get very frustrated because I am the kind who will push and push for options, treatments and keep fighting. To me, accepting the cancer and the fate that the end of cancer is death is not good enough. I will fight death before giving up. But some people will think of death as the only option. I am the kind who will die, fighting.

So, given the chance to sit down with Dr. Ng the oncologist, I discovered an amazing man there. He understands the cost concerns as my relative have only limited amount of insurance coverage. That’s why he patiently called the Penang GH to look for intervention radiologist but they do not perform this procedure and do not have drugs. He phoned Island’s and asked them for a rate as well. He told us, “We are a Christian hospital and if you really cannot afford it, we can give you a discount.” But he also told us that there are many busuk kaki patients who claimed to be poor but drive a Mercedes.

Now, that relative has been admitted to undergo the procedure to stop the kidney bleeding. It is only a one-day stay and the procedure is done without surgery. Thank God He puts hubby and I there because if not, this relative will go home and wait again. Initially, he refused to be admitted and undergo the treatment but we insisted gently that there is no other option. (or rather both hubby and I left very little option and arm twist him to stay and do it) Waiting at home is not the option.

I told him that there is no other way except to fight it. He is still strong and alert now so he has to fight it or else if he waits too long, he won’t have the health to do so. (previous post dated April 2nd)

But still, they refused to tell their two children who are working overseas. To me, nothing matters now except to get them home for the moral support. But they think otherwise. They do not want them to come home now and do not want them to worry either. Oh well…we shall see how he reacts to this Nevaxar and pray God gives him a better quality of life and he can overcome it.

(P/S : What do the UK authority do to people who overstayed their tourist visa? Will they get detained and not allowed to leave the country? Or they get kicked out and not able to go in again?)




17 Responses to “Jottings on liver cancer, Nexavar and intervention radiotherapy”

  1. They are being very selfish by keeping the news from the kids. What if he kicks the bucket now. The trauma the kids have to go thru losing a parent suddenly is much more devastating than learning their parent have cancer. Let the kids know and let them decide for themselves.

    My prayers are with him.

  2. Terence – Worst case scenario lagi jialat. Kick liao, wanna comeback kena sumbat masuk lokap there and by the time got back, no more liao. But what to do…..hope my atm can knock some senses into them lah. But atm said, “People’s business lah.” That’s why I tell myself, money should never be a priority.

  3. I got a friend who overstayed in UK for a year, by the time he left, nothing happened at the custom. Should be ok. If they get caught, will just send them back. Maybe air flight also can save.

  4. 🙁 May your relative will get at least a lil’ better..

    Eh? the busuk rich people pretending to be poor tak tau malu kah?? Benci lah this kind of people..

  5. I feel so sad when I read this post. 🙁 I just hope your relative will be strong (yeah.. I know.. talking is easy then doing it..). As for the kids, I think they have the right to know it. Later, let the kids decide what they wanna do.

  6. May be the UK Gov will fine. Australia will ask you to pay fine and question you. then kick back ur own country and not allowed to enter in again! Pity your fren. Asked him let his children know. We are one family. We should through thick and thin.

  7. Hi 5xmom

    Sorry to hear the news about your relative

    I’m not sure if the UK authorities will fine, but they will try to kick you out and not let you in again if you are caught. If you have the money to go home, they’ll let you go home.. if not, they will put you in lokap, and inform the Malaysian government that you are there, and ask them to send money. If they are Chinese, the Malaysian government will pretend never got the news, and they will spend the rest of their life in the lokap, or until a relative/kind samaritan buy them a flight ticket home. If they are Malay, the Malaysian government will send them a flight ticket home immediately.

    I’m not sure if there is a compulsory fine, or a compulsory lokap stay if they are caught. Maybe if they just leave, and the immigration officer is half asleep when they go past the customs, then there won’t be any permanent records and they will be allowed in again. Otherwise, once there is a permanent record they’ll never be alloewd in again.

    In any case, if the children of your relative are ‘tiu fei kei’ (jump aeroplane) working in the UK, my advice is to let them know asap, cause it may take some time to arrange their flight home.

    Hope this helps.
    Theodwyn.

  8. My friend just came back from UK few weeks ago. Lately, the UK employers will kena kuat-kuat penalty if they caught hiring illegal foreigner. my freind got sotong goreng from her boss & can’t a new job after that.

    she jumped plane to UK yrs ago & her passport also mati liao but she still come home safe & sound.

    she heard that some people ‘s Pound Sterlings were confiscated in the airport’s custom.

    she got black-listed by the UK custom. i think.

  9. Theodwyn – Thanks for the input. You just confirmed my hunch cos I know it is merely, buy ticket, fly home kinda thing as I believe there will be some ‘sticky situation’. I will see how to convince them.

    Jarod – This one long-long-long overstaying ler. I worry for them, kepoh mah.

    choonie – Yalor.

    kadusmama – Plenty of people like this. Or some use their connection and get admitted to Gov. Hospital and get cheap medical treatment also got.

    Th_c – Hopefully lah.

    **Anyway, I just got info the procedure was unable to be carried out as planned due to some problems. Haih..

  10. I’m glad to hear that the doctors at Adventist are still kind and caring, and that the hospital will still help people who can’t afford the usual price. That’s how the hospital was when I was a little girl and my parents were both doctors at Adventist. Even if a patient walked unable to pay anything, they would be treated as well as the rich guy.

    Your description of your relative’s symptoms sounds scary. However, I’ve seen so many times that people who went for treatment improved. Even if it’s not a cure, many times people get more years and happy times with their families. Your relative is fortunate to have you and your husband to influence him wisely and help him ask the right questions.

    Does the hospital bakery still sell those delicious sweet breads?

  11. adventist brings back lots of memories for me. i used to go there after school across the road to view those fetus in bottles..lol

    yes, and those yummy cinnamon rolls that my mum asks me to buy home by the dozen!

    gosh i miss Penang.

  12. bless your kind soul lilian, thanks for sharing this very informative post. liver cancer is indeed one of the worst, if not the worst, cancer. hope ur relative will find the strength through this difficult time.

    p/s: if the kids come back safe and sound, which they most probably will [if they choose to come back at all], they definitely can’t go back again. maybe have jump aeroplane somewhere else pulak 😯

  13. i feel kesian for them, and let it be lesson for us to take good care of our health. may the mercy of Lord bless the relatives of yours. At this point its crucially important for the children to come home and get things settled.

    go detox?

  14. I’ll keep him in my prayers. May he get well soon.

  15. May your relative get well again.

    The children should come home now before it gets too complicated la but then they will never get to go back there already due to bad record.

  16. A family stays as a family no matter what.
    May the poor man free from pain soon as possible.

  17. Lilian,

    The security tight, but immigration control is very lax when you depart, so should not be a problem (at least Heathrow lar). They are probably very happy you leave, and just black list you.

    However, I think it is not easy to return on emergency la. Your rental deposit everything, need to settle one leh. If not you lose deposit etc. Rugi besar. Withdrawal of money etc is not efficient here. Now even more mah fan, cos they takut people sell pound down. My friend graduated and wanted to transfer her savings out. Kena question by bank officers one whole hour. so many processes. Even legally here also mah fan. If your relative’s kids’ jump aeroplane, better give more notice. I dun know what they have to do- may be more?